Playboy Jazz Festival!
- By Cynthia Lum
- Photos Courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic announces another blockbuster lineup for the 2017 edition of the celebrated Playboy Jazz Festival. With the famed Hollywood Bowl hosting and comedian George Lopez serving as emcee for the 5th consecutive year, this year’s festival is sure to be another weekend of great music and fun that will keep toes tapping, hands clapping and enthrall listeners.
The term “something for everyone” seems overused, but this year’s talent roster truly fits that description. What could be better than a warm summer afternoons and a cool starlit evenings listening to world class jazz music, with some R&B, Blues, new contemporary, and a few surprises added to the mix to keep it interesting?
A legend in the pantheon of music festivals, the Playboy Jazz Festival turns 39 this year. The original Festival was founded in 1959 by Hugh Hefner of Playboy Magazine fame, and was held at the Chicago Stadium. Although the festival was a huge success with 68 thousand fans attending, the second event wasn’t held until 1979 when it moved to the iconic Hollywood Bowl. The talent lineup at the 1979 event read like the who’s who of jazz greats, with Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Joe Williams, Lionel Hampton, Chick Corea, Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, and Freddie Hubbard to name just a few. Since that landmark first gathering, at the Bowl the Festival has become an internationally acclaimed event, featuring performances by legends like Miles Davis to today’s hottest stars and contemporary artists including Herbie Hancock, Wynton Masalis, The Roots, Trombone Shorty, and Esperanza Spalding.
The 2017 edition will lean heavily towards an eclectic array of vocalists, Festival first-timers and emerging artists alongside jazz legends and next generation leaders. The wide range of talent will give audiences an exciting chance to see Festival favorites, and also meet new upcoming artists.
Saturday’s lineup will include: multi-instrumentalist, keyboardist, and world renowned electric bassist, Marcus Miller with special guest Rahsaan Patterson, and a special salute to Al Jarreau; 2 time Grammy winner, including Best R&B Performance Corinne Bailey Raewho has been described as the “Bewitching queen of British soul;” The Festival debut of blues band extraordinaire, TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band, HUDSON with Jack DeJonette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, and John Scofield; the dynamic Arturo Sandoval and Latin Big Band with a very special celebration for the late jazz giant and vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson, with Stefon Harris, Roy Ayers and Warren Wolf; Prodigious multi instrumentalist, Jacob Collier who rose to fame with his you tube videos; Oakland’s The California Honeydrops; and The CSULB Pacific Standard Time Vocal Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Christine Guter.
Sunday’s program promises to be another superior day of music featuring: soulful jazz singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, Gregory Porter; Academy Award-winning actor, musician and wordsmith, Common; R&B royalty Lalah Hathaway who scored three back-to-back R&B Grammy wins in 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively; Los Angeles’ own socially conscious bassist and composer Miles Mosley & The West Coast Get Down; TheKenny Garrett Quintet in a world premiere collaboration with JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble; Fans of Art Blakey and Elvin Jones won’t want to miss drummer Carl Allen’stribute to his two drum influences with his hard bop, gospel infused work, “The Art of Elvin”; The Diva Jazz Orchestra headed by swinging drummer Sherrie Maricle is an ensemble of 15 extremely talented, versatile, powerful women musicians; New Orleans own funkmeisters, Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles; acclaimed Brazilian musician Hamilton De Holanda who won the Latin Grammy for best instrumental album in 2016; The LAUSD/Beyond the Bell Jazz Band under the direction of Tony White and J.B. Dyas.
For tickets and details, click here.